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The internet has revolutionized the way we do business. More business means more opportunities. I’m one of those who benefited from it. Content writing never slipped my mind, until job offers started pouring. That’s when I decided, I’m home (literally and figuratively).
Some people say that freelance content writing has changed their careers (and lives) tremendously. Others even claim that they earn 6-figures monthly.
But, do you know what else they’re not telling? They didn’t tell you what they have to go through to achieve glory and success.
Today, I’ll tell you the things I went through when I was starting.
Okay, so let’s get to it.
1. You will be scammed
I know, this sounds scary. But it’s true. There are many kinds of people you will meet online. So, you have to be careful of who you’re dealing with. Chances are, you will be low balled because your prospect client thinks you’re an amateur. Others will just offer you a job straight away. But, once you’ve completely delivered the task, you won’t hear from that person again, ever. Some will ask for “samples.” Then, refuse to hire you saying, you are not the best fit. A couple of days later, you will find your work online. and again, you try to reach out to them to get your payment, only to be shut down once more.
I remember one of my first clients. She is the personal assistant of the CEO. They run a travel agency specializing in tours to Kilimanjaro. She said she needs help in making brochures for their prospect clients. I will team up with their graphic artist. All they want from me is my content writing skills. I was offered $3/hour, which is super low. But I was ecstatic to accept it because I thought I’m new, with zero experience, and didn’t have the right to demand a higher salary.
After three days of going back and forth, proofreading and editing copy for the brochures, she told me she was satisfied with my work. After that, she “disappeared”. I never heard from her again. As for the payment, I didn’t receive any.
Again, be careful of who you’re dealing with. There are ways to avoid this from happening.
Ask for a downpayment
Some freelancers would ask 50% before work begins. The rest will be sent after the project is complete. For long-term projects, some prefer a monthly fixed rate, or 25%-50%-25% payment arrangement.
Use a freelance content writing platform
Some clients are not comfortable paying upfront. So, they hire through freelance platforms like Workana. Clients create job posts, evaluate bids, and once they found the best proposal, deposits the payment to escrow, and the freelancer gets a notification saying that the work can start.
In case the freelancer failed to deliver the project on time, or he didn’t meet the clients’ expectations, the money will be refunded to the client.
Conduct a background check
If you’re still not sure if the person is legit, try Googling him. Check if he has a LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, or a website.
Clients conduct a background check before hiring freelancers. And I think we should do the same for our safety.
2. You will work from home 101% of the time
One of the reasons why I decided to do content writing is to avoid the agony of going to work during rush hour. Because no matter what I do, I’d still be late for work.
Others choose this kind of setup because they want to become full-time parents, which is great. But, if you have a fear of isolation, there are things you can do to keep your “sanity”.
- Go out with your friends
Have a little chitchat over coffee or a shopping spree. Nothing beats spending time with people who care about you.
- Pursue passion projects
Aside from content writing for clients, I started a self-care blog with fellow content writers. Also, I’m writing fiction. Last April, I released a zine called Tara, yosi tayo. (Hey, let’s smoke). I dedicated it to my friends in the BPO industry. Our friendship was strengthened by a bad habit, smoking. Ah, the irony of life.
- Stay away from the computer for a while
Ergonomic experts say you have to stand up every hour, at least. Get something to eat or drink water, just to keep the blood flowing.
- Do something physical. Exercise.
Honestly, I don’t exercise. I’m too lazy for that. But I walk my dog every day unless there’s bad weather.
3. You will work from 10 to 12 hours a day (including weekends and holidays)
That’s right. Being a freelance content writer has its perks. For me, it’s the flexibility of work schedules. But being flexible has its responsibilities. I can work 4 hours a day if I want to, or even 10 hours a day (maybe more) if I have a deadline to meet.
4. You will earn and lose clients without warning
Sad truth. Nothing is permanent. if the business is not going well, clients will not hesitate to let you go. It’s all part of the game. But the good news is, your career will not end there. As a freelance content writer, you are in liberty to get as many clients as you can handle. So if things don’t turn out well on one of them, you have a fallback.
5. You will gain (virtual) friends
Despite the isolation, the nice thing about freelance content writing is you get to meet fellow writers and clients from all over the world. I mean, others even find the love of their life online. You can join Facebook groups, interact with fellow content writers on Twitter and Instagram, or treat yourself to a virtual coffee break. Who knows, a virtual coffee break can turn into an actual coffee break soon.
6. You have to consistently market yourself
If you’ve been in the industry for long, chances are you get clients from referrals or word of mouth. But if you’re just starting, one of the things you need to do to survive in this business is to market yourself consistently.
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile
- Update your Facebook bio
- Create a Facebook page with the type of services you offer
- Create a website which will serve as your portfolio.
Be visible. Make you and your services be known.
7. You will fail
Look, I know you didn’t expect this. But this is true. You will not get everything right the first time. So, have the stomach to acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and move forward. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. Create a doable timeline for you to learn, apply, and of course, start monetizing your writing skills.
Or, if you think you choose the wrong path, and you’d rather write as a hobby and not a career, there are other branches in digital marketing that you can get your hands on.
That’s it. Have you started your path in content writing? What’s the hardest part? Let me know in the comments.